'Habit-co-Habit', the third edition of the Pune Biennale kicks off on January 5
Block your calendars for the third edition of the Pune Biennale and its flagship contemporary art exhibition
Come January and Italian artist Massimo Bartolini will create a social sculpture, in the form of a small amphitheatre around a tree in one of Pune’s leafy gardens, Sambhaji Park. The sculpture is meant to be both symbolic and functional; even while it ensconces the tree it will become the platform for hosting short dance performances.
Installation artist Bartolini’s creation is among those curated by Zasha Colah and Luca Cerizza for the flagship exhibition of the Pune Biennale, now in its third edition. Familiar faces around Mumbai, Colah and Cerizza have invited 21 local, Indian and international artists to be part of this exhibition, which kicks off on January 5. Titled Habit-co-Habit, the exhibition, say the curators, is based on wordplay between ‘habit’ and ‘cohabit’. “By attaching the suffix ‘co’ before ‘habit, a habit is literally turned into something else, suggesting a transformation in our own behaviour,” says Cerizza, a writer and art historian. The title is evocative of the central focus of the exhibition -- about living together in a big city or a city, like Pune, which is growing fast.
Bringing up the exhibition’s subtitle, Artistic Simulations of Some Everyday Spaces -- a reference to notes by French semiologist Roland Barthes for a series of seminars delivered in 1977 -- the curators have chosen eight “everyday” sites across the Deccan area of Pune, including the Pataleshwar Temple, Pune Municipal Corporation Printing Press and the Z Bridge. These spaces represented the first wave of modernisation in the development of the city at the end of the 19th century. “Rather than inviting audiences to neutral exhibition spaces, Habit-co-Habit unfolds within existing communities and readymade audiences,” says Colah, who co-founded the union of artists, Clark House, in Mumbai.
Artists -- among whom are Sarnath Banerjee, Tushar Joag and Jimmy Chishi -- have been invited to use a large variety of different mediums, from sculpture to performance, from film to drawings. The stress, therefore, is on public art that sensitively addresses the communities and architecture that surround it. U-ra-mi-li, a duo of filmmakers in Chennai, have been conducting a research around the banks of the Mutha river close to Z-Bridge to produce a new short film, for instance. “We have considered how to create a meaningful public art that avoids empty spectacularisation but tries to address different kinds of audiences. In our idea, the artistic interventions will create an itinerary of surprising encounters, suggesting alternative ways to experience everyday spaces,” says Cerizza.
When: January 5 - 29
Where: Across eight venues in Deccan, Pune
Notes on migration
In keeping with the Pune Biennale’s theme of identity and self, look out for a multimedia exhibition curated by Bina Sarkar Ellias. Titled ‘To Be AND NOT To Be’, the exhibition is a coming together of artists, filmmakers and poets on the subject of migration and displacement, whether for political, climate change or economic reasons. A series of photographs by Ketaki Shah and Pablo Bartholomew and more, chronicle the lives of migrants and refugees. The exhibition will be housed in discarded shipping containers, symbolic of movement and migration.
WHERE: Shivaji Preparatory Military School, Pune
Paint a wall, or two
Team up with your friends to splay the walls of Pune with murals. In this project, called Pune Speaking Walls, you can take part in any of these three categories: artist (large walls using a scaffolding or crane), artist with junior artist and community (volunteers work under supervision on a curated wall). Registrations begin on January 5, 2017 on the Pune Biennale website.
WHERE: JMâÂÂRoad, Pune
Art from special quarters
Earlier this year, the Pune Biennale Foundation and Bal Kalyan Sanstha organised an art workshop for 50 specially-abled children from 11 schools in Pune. The children unleased their creative skills across various creative arts like drawing, doodling, puppet- making, clay-modelling and more. Now, as part of the Biennale, visitors will be able to browse through these young artists’ creations in a coffee table book. Refer to the Biennale website for details on availability.
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